| A Young Man’s Fight Against The Odds
“Aarrghh”, yelled Jay as they drove frighteningly close to the truck in the right lane. “Just don’t make me laugh or we will hit something”, joked his buddy. They were on their way back from Newark Airport where his best friend had just picked him up after his flight from Australia.
We both talked about the old days as we continued on with our journey. It was hard to believe that just two years ago Jay had received a call informing him that I had been admitted to the emergency room at the local hospital.
“The Nightmare”, as I call it, started without any warning in February 1999. It was the evening of the 14th and I had just returned from work. I had started a new job a couple of months ago as a senior manager in a software company on Long Island and was finally comfortable with the projects my team had to complete. I was sitting down at my computer at home penning a memo to a coworker about new policies needed for print-based advertising campaigns launched in the future at our company when I felt a sudden twinge in my left leg. When I looked down I was surprised to see my leg swelling below the knee. Figuring it was probably just the result of hurting my leg somewhere at work or at home, I took a painkiller and decided to call it an early night. Thankfully, it was Friday and I had the whole weekend to recover.
I wasn’t really feeling ill or I would have called a doctor, it was just a simple swelling that would probably go down in the next few hours. Even though I was considerably overweight, I have been at this same size since I can remember and have always led a fairly active lifestyle. I was 25 years old, earning a very good living, had a good group of friends as well as my share of relationships. I had left a large multinational company a couple of years ago where I worked in Sales, Marketing, Branding, Public Relations, Technology and Consulting – I had risen up the ranks through long nights and longer weekends of hard work – and earned the respect of many of my peers. After that I had started my own Internet consulting company (way ahead of its time) and had passed it on to my partner. I had left my digs in New Hampshire to conquer new territory in New York and had made considerable progress here professionally in the last few years. I definitely considered myself a success and it was perhaps this feeling of invincibility that caused me to believe that a swollen leg couldn’t slow me down for long. Was I in for a surprise! Chapter I: The Nightmare Begins
As dawn broke the next day, I could sense that something was wrong.
My leg had ballooned up so that my skin felt like the skin on a plump sausage on the grill – ready to pop open at the slightest touch. I was now nervous and decided to call my “American Family” for advice. I had met the Brunolds’ about four years ago through a common business acquaintance and since then Peter and Deanne had welcomed me into their family. Apart from moving to NY on Deanne’s insistence, they had also played hosts a couple of times my father visited me from India and I had joined them for several family holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving. Now they were my family and I called them for advice.
Deanne was calm and reassuring on the other end of the phone. “Come on over and lets have a look at it”, she said, “maybe I can get find some Epsom salts and you could soak in the tub and see if you feel better”. So, I struggled to my car and drove the couple of miles to their home. As soon as Dee opened the door I saw a serious look on her normally cheerful face. She could see the pain in my eyes and noticed the way I limped into the house. “I think its best if we get you to a doctor immediately”, she muttered as grabbed her jacket and keys and herded me back outside to her car. “I am going to take you to the emergency room at the hospital and we will let them have a look at your leg”. Since it was the weekend and I didn’t have a better suggestion I followed along quietly to my first visit to a hospital.
The Emergency Room
I got to the Huntington Hospital Emergency Room and after a four-hour wait, was finally seen by an ER doctor . He asked me if I had ever suffered anything like this before and I answered in the negative. He proceeded to explain that he suspected I had a clot somewhere in my right leg and that they needed to admit me for evaluation and to run a couple of standard tests.
As they transferred me to a stretcher and wheeled me to my room I remember viewing this entire episode as a surreal dreamscape and that I would soon wake up and be back in bed in my apartment. It was
as though this was an episode on some TV drama and this was all happening to someone else.
They finished the evening with a strong dose of morphine to help with my growing pain and I dozed off…
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